Topeka The Kansas Senate today overrode Gov. Kathleen Sebelius' veto of a bill that would authorize the construction of two coal-fired electric power plants.
The vote was 32-7, which was more than the two-thirds majority needed to override the veto.
The action now turns to the House where it will take 84 votes in the 125-member chamber to override. A vote in the House is possible later today.
State Sen. Marci Francisco, D-Lawrence, voted to support Sebelius, while state Sen. Roger Pine, R-Lawrence, voted to override her veto.
Earlier today, Sebelius defied legislative leaders and rejected an alternative proposal for the project.
"I am disappointed that, for the third time in a row, the Legislature is asking me to mandate that Kansas send the power we need -- the power we create -- to Colorado and Texas," Sebelius said during a news conference.
House Speaker Melvin Neufeld, R-Ingalls, and Senate President Steve Morris, R-Hugoton, said Sebelius' decision would trigger veto override votes.
"We'll proceed," with a veto override, Nefueld said after he and Morris met with Sebelius.
The dispute is over a project by Hays-based Sunflower Power Electric Corp. and two out of state partners to build two coal burning plants in southwest Kansas.
Sebelius has rejected two bills that would authorize construction of the two 700-megawatt plants. She has cited concerns about carbon dioxide emissions, linked to climate change, escalating costs of coal-fired plants, and the fact that 85 percent of the power would be sold to out of state customers.
Sunflower Power offered to reduce the project to two 600-megawatt plants, and Neufeld and Morris demanded that Sebelius accept the offer or they would initiate override votes.
But Sebelius continued to criticize the deal, noting it would also strip the power of the Kansas Department of Health and Environment secretary and put regulatory permitting in the hands of the Legislature.
"The ultimatum I have been given contains all these problems, and would surely send our state in the wrong direction," she said.